– When tears turn to giggles…

I was still in a daze after Dr. Cheng’s proclamation of doom. After a bus ride of staring out the window at the rain and crying uncontrollably, I pulled myself together for my afternoon appointment.

The waiting rooms at MD Anderson always have several jigsaw puzzles in varying states of progress. I quite liked it… walking up to a puzzle that actually had a solution was very comforting. Plus, it took your mind off of what you were waiting for. The waiting areas were also filled with people who were fearful of what was facing them. Usually, I tried to infect them with my endless enthusiasm, but I appeared to have run out.

There was a cute, older, African-American couple holding hands. I tried to guess which one was the patient. She was stoic, but he was definitely her Rock of Gibraltar…. it must be her. I smiled at them and turned to a puzzle. It worked for a few minutes, then the memory of Dr. Cheng’s face appeared. All the ways that I could feel sorry for myself streamed in. It was a pitiful, pathetic, ‘poor-me’ party. That lady had her sweet husband to give her strength. Where was my Rock?

My eyes teared up and the puzzle in front of me was a blur. Jesus, get it together! What if they came and called me right now? What if someone sees me? I choked back the desire to sob and shake. Looking around, I saw no Kleenex. Seriously? I sat perfectly still, pretending to study the puzzle, blinking methodically to evaporate the tears before they fell. Plop! One fell on the table beneath me. Plop, plop. Damn! My nose was starting to run. I snuck a little sniffle.

A white blur appeared from the periphery in front of me… a hand holding a tissue. I looked up gratefully at the woman who had been holding hands with her husband. Her soft, brown eyes fixed mine with a look of such compassion that I smiled and a little sob escaped.

As I took the tissue, I noticed it was about 3 feet square! What the hell?

“It was all I could find. I went into an exam room to get it for you,” she offered apologetically. It must be one of those liners they put on the exam tables to keep things sanitary! I burst into laughter and, relieved, she joined me. I stood up and hugged her.

A hug and a giggle… that’s what I had needed.

Aren’t people lovely sometimes?


– I stand alone

I stand alone, surrounded by shadowy figures. Like clay soldiers from an ancient Chinese army, they are silent symbols of fallen warriors. Every time I turn around, there are more. Diagnosed after me with prognoses better than mine, they have left me behind. I fight back tears and try not to give in to suffocating feelings of doom and despair. May they find as much joy and love in their next assignment as they brought to this one. Because every one of them deserves, perhaps more than I, to be breathing here beside me, and they are not… Because of the brave battles that they waged… Because I don’t truly understand why I’m still standing… I will battle on. For them… And for all of my sweet fellow warriors who know exactly what I am feeling. As I sit here listening to Robert Earl Keen, I am reminded that the road goes on forever, and the party never ends.

– Ho’oponopono… Love, Gratitude, and Forgiveness

When you think everything is someone else’s fault,
you will suffer a lot.
When you realize that everything springs only from yourself,
you will learn both peace and joy.
– Dalai Lama

Something that I don’t accept about many of the religions I’ve studied is the concept of punishment… that the bad things that happen in our lives are some sort of divine retribution in order for us to take responsibility. What I reject is that there is this god or gods (or aliens?) up there watching us with a scorecard for each one of us, keeping track of our deeds, and doling out the appropriate punishment. No disrespect intended… but don’t you ever feel that if that is truly what’s happening, then they are doing a really crappy job? Seriously, look around.

But I do accept the concept of karma. I have learned to trust the universe to return the energy that I give. That what goes around comes around. That, in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make. That you should do unto others as you would have them do unto you. That if you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all. This all relates to positive energy attracting positive energy and negative energy attracting negative energy. If one makes a mistake, one must take responsibility for it in order to not attract negative energy.

In ancient Hawaii, it was thought that illness was caused by the bad things that you had done. Perhaps the gods were angry, perhaps it was too many withdrawals from your karmic currency, perhaps it was the negative energy attached to guilt. In order to get well, you needed to take responsibility and ask for forgiveness. You needed to make things right.

This evolved into the concept that the entire world you live in is of your creation and is therefore your responsibility. Not only are you responsible for the ugliness you directly create, you are responsible for all the ugliness around you, even the ugliness that others perpetrate onto you. You must take responsibility and ask for forgiveness for all of it. And sprinkle lots of love and gratitude around. This is my interpretation of Ho’oponopono or, making things right and healing ourselves, island-style.

There was a psychiatric doctor in Hawaii, Dr. Hew Len, who achieved great success in a previously hopeless hospital for the criminally insane by putting these concepts into action. Simply by forgiving the patients for their transgressions, accepting responsibility for his part in how society had failed them, asking for forgiveness, thanking them, and loving them, he healed the part of himself that had created them and everything changed dramatically for the better for both patients and staff at the hospital. He apparently did this from within his office and not in the physical presence of the patients, which is what makes it really interesting.

I imagine these criminally insane people had been surrounded for most of their lives by negative energy. They probably had not experienced much of the positive energy that would accompany the concepts of gratitude, forgiveness, and love. How could bathing their psyches in positive energy NOT have a positive effect?

Having experienced powerful distance healing from energy workers, I have accepted the concept of energy traveling in ways that we do not detect with our 5 senses. Perhaps through quantum sub-space? It doesn’t necessarily matter. All we need to do to control it is generate positive energy by harnessing the power of love, responsibility, gratitude, and forgiveness.

My new healing mantra to my body has become “Thank you for all you have done for me, I’m sorry for all I have done to cause you pain, I love you for who you are…. I love you, I’m sorry, thank you… I love you, I’m sorry, thank you.”

I have a little dance that goes with it. : )

– Energy Vortices

Positive energy attracts and begets positive energy and
negative energy attracts and begets negative energy.

We all know this to be true on some level. Quantum physicists talk about co-existing alternate realities. They cite the observer effect, which basically states that the presence of an observer affects which probability will become reality. Perhaps you can influence which potential becomes reality by thinking it…. greasing the wheels, so to speak… increasing the probability that potential will come to pass. In The Hidden Messages in Water, Dr. Emoto shows how positive and negative emotions directed at water can create different crystallization patterns in that water upon freezing…. Beautiful, lace-like patterns for thoughts of love and distorted, mutated shapes for hateful thoughts. Let’s suppose words, thoughts, and emotions have vibrational frequencies that play a role in creating our realities. Even if you don’t believe this, I do… and that creates my reality.

I have learned to trust the universe to return the energy that I give. This concept plays such a huge role in my daily existence right now but I still forget. Coming off of 3 bad days, I am having a good day. No… I am having a GREAT day. Because I started out NOT feeling like shit, which was a big improvement. So, I allowed myself, unconsciously, bit by bit, to relax and breathe and eat. Each positive step grew exponentially, so that I felt better and put good energy out and got it back in spades, until the negative energy vortex I had been stuck in reversed itself and spiraled up.

I went out into the world to a new doctor on my team, blew him away with positive energy, and he hugged me and thanked me. Buoyed by that exchange, I had a rockin’ yoga class and was able to do twice as much as before. My teacher came over and commented on my energy which filled me with the strength I need to prepare myself for the chemo I am hooked up to as I write. Then, it’s off to acupuncture which always makes me feel great. I feel re-connected to my will to live and commitment to fight and belief that I will cure this cancer into not coming back, in spite of what the doctors say.

And I reflect on why I have been losing that feeling of late. And I imagine these energy vortices that feed on themselves and either spiral downwards or upwards. And it only takes one action to reverse it. But it’s so hard to reverse a negative spiral when you feel like crap and can’t leave the toilet, the bed, or the apartment. And it’s f&%#ing raining every single day!

It’s like this Sisyphean task to push this huge boulder uphill. But as soon as you get it started, it becomes easier and easier as the positive energy that comes back to you feeds into it until that boulder is sailing uphill by itself. I just have to remind myself to make that first effort and send out as much positive energy as I can, especially when I don’t feel like it.

I reflect about the smiles I’ve received today in return for mine and how they not only energized me but how they might have instigated a reverse towards the positive in the person I gave the smile to. So, perhaps the most valuable naturopathic protocol I can do is to make myself leave the apartment at least once a day and go and smile at someone. I can become the creepy neighborhood smiling lady! No, seriously, I’m surrounded by ethnic minorities that don’t speak English well (nor each others’ languages) and people undergoing chemo. And it rains EVERY day, did I mention that? These are my daily playmates and none of them smile much. But when I hit them with my smile gun, and their face crinkles in response, my hard-won trophy counts for more.

Look around you and find something beautiful and suck it into your being. Let it energize you to do one small but positive thing you couldn’t have thought you could do before that beauty filled you. That one positive thing will grow within you and the next day you will do a bigger positive thing and so on.

I have always been described as being a naive idealist… as though it’s a criticism? God, I love being a naive idealist… it feeds me! I don’t want to become a jaded realist! Jaded realists die, naive idealists live!

Don’t let others pull you into their storm,
pull them into your peace


– The snarling wolf


You don’t “beat” stage IV breast cancer.

The most you can do is grab the snarling wolf

by the throat and hold it at arm’s length,

trying not to be intimidated by the fangs

and the spittle and the intensity of its desire

to rip you to pieces.


If you’re lucky, you temporarily tame it

or it may tire itself out for awhile

but you are always on your guard,

knowing it will eventually awaken and attack again.


Right now, he is snoring softly at my feet.

Be vewy, vewy qui-yet.



– The path you choose

The diagnosis of cancer left me reeling and disoriented. I stopped at the store and spaced out… staring… in front of the dairy section. “So what does this mean? How long do I have? Do I buy a pint… or a gallon?”

Time slows down; mouths open; people talk; nothing makes sense; the non-existent wind howls in your ears; time speeds up; you don’t know where you are or how you got there. So much is unknown and there are so many ramifications. So much information. So many emotions to process. And your loved ones need to process. And everyone is watching you process. All you want to do is curl up in the fetal position and hope it just… goes… away.

Ultimately, you must choose a path. Cycle through the stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance. Inform yourself. Commit to yourself. Choose a path that honors you.

My own path began in 2007. I’ve survived against all odds and prognoses. As of this writing, I am healthy and vibrant, in spite of having a terminal diagnosis and been given just weeks to live… twice. They say that it is incurable and that it will kill me, sooner than later. But that maybe they can buy me some time. Screw that! Who are they to give me weeks? I’m gonna take them. And I’m taking as many as I want, dammit!

The truth is… they don’t know, nobody knows. There are many people who beat the odds they were given simply because they refused to accept the odds and took action. I am a single mom and I have chosen to do everything I can to defeat it, or buy as much time as I can. I’m buying the gallon… not the pint.

I have chosen to fight. I have chosen to be the author of my destiny. I employ naturopathic protocols and toxic modern medicine. Radiation shrunk tumors and chemotherapy stopped the advance of new growth. I cleanse my body of toxins and provide nutrients and anti-cancer remedies from around the world to change the bioterrain that allowed cancer to thrive. I choose to view cancer as a gift and explore my emotional landscape for opportunities to grow and cleanse my mind and soul. The healthier my emotions, the better equipped to fight and win my body will be and the less likely cancer will dominate. And I will show my son what it means to not give up. That is the path that I have chosen. Because I know that if I don’t choose that path, there is no chance of winning. And I will win.
And if I die? I will be a better person for this path!

While shopping in a consignment store near the oncology clinic, a bald woman in a turban was trying on some white pants that she liked. “You know the rule about white pants after Labor Day, don’t you?” her friend commented. “Yeah, well, I’m into breaking rules right now,” she replied.

A second friend entered the store and joined them. “There is nothing but snow and mud back home!” she exclaimed. “Why on EARTH would you be trying on white pants?”, her Southern lilt demanded. “Because…” our shero avowed firmly and testily. “…I will wear them next SPRING!” Buying those pants was a symbol of hope… a way of thumbing her nose at the prognosis. I completely understood. She was buying the gallon.

She stood at the cash register, white pants firmly in hand. She fidgeted nervously, still upset at her friends who obviously doubted that she would survive the winter to wear those pants in the spring.

“I floss my teeth,” I offered.

“Excuse me?” she said, puzzled.

“And I use wrinkle cream. These are MY affirmations that I will be around long enough to be happy I did these things.” She hugged me gratefully. And, I returned it. A nice, long hug.

– My scrappy little junkyard dog

I dedicate this entry to my liver. What it has weathered through my life to get me this far is miraculous… a 2-year bout with Hepatitis B, three bouts of malaria, liver trauma and near shutdown from taking the birth control pill, two bouts of exotic strains of amoebic dysentery who probably still inhabit it, liver fluke infestations, a lifetime of iron overload from hereditary hemochromatosis. The detox from a dozen surgeries and associated pharmaceutical poisons. Not to mention the alcohol and recreational toxins our culture enjoys in excess when we’re young and less than wise. : )

It’s been bloodied and scarred with one eye poked out but it’s licking its paws… my scrappy little junkyard dog, still protecting me fiercely. It has suspicious lesions on it and needs to care for itself but now, more than ever, its ability to filter and process toxins is vital to my existence. The role of the liver in cancer is large. Its ability to protect us from the carcinogens we are exposed to daily on such massive scales could very well be one of the most cru-cial keys as to whether someone gets cancer or not. In Chinese medicine, every organ is paired with another. The liver is paired with the breast. Is it coincidence that the cancer currently attempting to ravage all the other parts of my body is breast cancer?

My little fighter has taken a beating but, for the rest of the body’s sake, must keep plugging away to protect us all. And now I’m subjecting it to unimaginable poisons? My daily potions and rituals include lots of care for him. I bend down to thank him and he licks my hand and wags his tail… my scrappy little junkyard dog.

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